Facebook’s Strategy: Growth In Desktop, Core, Mid-Core Games

By Justin Lafferty 

Facebook has a sizable share of the games market, but it wants more. Most of the people who pay for games on Facebook are casual gamers, with titles such as King.com’s Candy Crush Saga at the forefront. But as Sean Ryan (pictured), Facebook’s director of games partnerships, discussed at the Game Developers Conference Tuesday in San Francisco, the company wants to become a bigger player in the games market through more action and console-like games.

One of the superstars of the Game Developers Conference has been Candy Crush Saga, which is the third-most-popular game on Facebook in terms of monthly active users, according to sister site AppData. Candy Crush Saga excelled when it made a cross-platform push, making sure the game experience is fluid from mobile to tablet to desktop. It’s that casual type of gamer that is the most prevalent on Facebook, Ryan said.

Of the $15 billion games market, Facebook has roughly a $3 billion foothold — primarily because of casual gaming, such as casino and hidden-object titles. Ryan said that the remaining $12 billion pertains mainly to core and mid-core games — essentially games that are deeper, more involved, and similar to console and computer games. Ryan said several games of this type are coming out soon – such as Kixeye’s Tome, nWay’s Chronoblade, and Kabam’s Imperium — which could become major contenders on the social network.

Games are a huge growth motivator for Facebook. Ryan said that in 2012, $2 billion was paid out to developers. Facebook also released some new games statistics, showing just how big it has become on the social network:

  • More than 250 million people are playing games on Facebook.com each month.
  • As of February, 55 percent of the top 400 iOS apps are integrated with Facebook.
  • Last month, Facebook drove 263 million clicks to the Apple App Store and Google Play from mobile News Feed.
  • 20 percent of daily Facebook Web users play games on Facebook.com.
  • Game installs (on Facebook.com) are up 75 percent since this time last year (when compared with March 2012).
  • There are about 200 games on Facebook.com with more than 1 million MAUs each.
  • More than 100 developers generated more than $1 million on Facebook last year.
  • Year-over-year growth of the total number of payers on Facebook has increased 24 percent since this time last year (when compared to March 2012).

Facebook is also giving games more real estate on users’ Timelines. Facebook’s George Lee, product manager for growth and revenue, announced at the conference that starting Wednesday, there will be a games module on profiles showing games that users have played, games they want to play, and game pages they’ve liked.

Readers: How can Facebook continue to improve the games ecosystem?